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Rediscovering Forgotten History: The Journey of LGBTQ+ Rights in India

I think it is fair to say that India has come a long way. A recent survey suggested that 53% of the Indian population favours same-sex marriage. But if there is one institution propagating infinite hate, that is social media. And if you look at it you will feel entirely different. India is going back to the old days.

Why is this sentence so relevant today? Is it because a gay person is again afraid of admitting he is gay? Is it because someone who has come out of the closet is so scared of current political conditions that he wants to crawl back inside, and sob for an eternity? But is it the old days or were the old days comparatively different? That is what we will address in this article.

We have come a long way from colonization to the trans movement to the decriminalization of same-sex marriage in court. But sadly, it is still limited to the court.

The upper class, the creamy layer of society itself isn’t very comfy with homosexuality. They will support the rights of people in public but when it comes to their close ones or family, they're all the same.

They're the educated ones. This isn't okay. In light of recent events, let’s unveil the history of the Indian LGBTQ+ Movement.

Why read the story backwards?

To know something well, you have to start at the beginning. There are ideas in the current societal critique of the LGBTQIA+ movement that argues from an extremely historical point of view.

But not to just argue, but to understand the point of this movement, the need of this movement, the achievements and the failures of this movement, the relevance of this movement today, tomorrow, and yesterday, you need to know the history of this movement.

Further, it is also important to push back against homophobic bigots who claim that ‘humare time mein ye sab nahi hota tha gay lesbian, ye sab to western propaganda hai’. It is important to answer this person that history is written by bigots, straight people in power. And if you look closely, you will find numerous people of the community in Indian History.

Eras of the Indian Pride History

This is my way of dividing Indian Pride History:

Pre-Colonial Era

India before colonization was big on acceptance. They have always had a diverse view of gender and sexuality. Today, when we are seeing that a majority of things that are deemed to be Western discoveries, were discovered by us first. We have been the pioneers of science and specifically biology. Hindu mythology, for example, contains stories that feature queer characters and fluid gender identities, such as the deity Ardhanarishvara, who embodies both male and female aspects. The Kama Sutra, an ancient text on sexuality, recognizes different forms of desire and relationships.

Colonial Influence

Pride Movement

The era of the 2000s

The Era of Propaganda and Erasure

Major Achievements of the Indian LGBTQ+ Movement

It happened on August 11, 1992. In response to police action against a few individuals from Central Park in Connaught Place on suspicion of homosexuality, the first known protest for gay rights in India took place just outside the police headquarters in Delhi's ITO district. The AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan (ABVA) organized the protests.

And since then, we haven’t stopped the battle. Click here for a brief account of Indian Pride Achievements.

What does the movement expect today?

Why hate? Why project your insecurities about not being enough as a straight male, and attack someone’s happiness? Why do you think being Gay is a new concept? If Indian history has taught us anything, you are living in a colonial hangover. Get over it. Educate yourself. Read, Listen, Understand, Listen to Understand not argue back. Stop bringing religion into every human rights post. Religion also said Brahmins are superior to other castes and women are second-grade citizens. Religion is never totally correct.

Hell, you don’t even know your religion. Your religion asks you to respect trans people. Do not call them ‘chakka’ or ‘abnormal’. Learn it. Love. Love will triumph.

Here is an article I found which can help you reconsider the conditions of Indian Queer Folk and the way you should choose ahead:

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